PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh controller Michael Lamb responded Tuesday to comments made by Mayor Bill Peduto regarding global ride sharing company Uber and their relationship with the city of Pittsburgh.
In an email to Peduto, Lamb urged the mayor to make clear what terms, if any, have been negotiated with Uber concerning data collection while the company’s autonomous vehicles are being tested and used on Pittsburgh streets.
“I support your efforts to bring new jobs and industry to Pittsburgh and you are correct that the relationship between the city and Uber must be a ‘two way street,’” Lamb wrote. “Unfortunately, to this point, the relationship with Uber appears to be a one-way limited access highway.”
Uber launched its ride sharing service in Pittsburgh in 2014, and in 2015 opened its Advanced Technology Center in Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood neighborhood. In 2016, Uber began testing and operating a fleet of self-driving vehicles throughout the city.
Lamb said that Uber’s “impressive growth and revenue have enabled the company to move into the world of artificial intelligence and big data. Entering these highly competitive and lucrative technology sectors could offer enormous potential to Uber and Pittsburgh but, again, only if we are operating on that two-way street. They currently operate as if they have been given carte blanche access to our city.”
Channel 11 News asked Peduto about Lamb’s concerns. He defended Uber, saying the company has created 700 jobs in the city and more are on the way.
Peduto did acknowledge that the issues raised by the controller are important and said he’s been attempting to work them out with Uber.
“What we are looking for is to utilize that data and that information in ways to make our streets safer, and that information should be something that is shared. And hopefully within not too long of a time, we will have that agreement done as well,” he said.
Lamb said he was pleased with Peduto’s response and said he looks forward to hearing more.
The entire text of Lamb’s email to Peduto can be viewed below: